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Website Content - the chicken and egg scenario

Peter Yexley focuses on marketing and promoting websites UK.



Here's a 'Chicken and Egg' scenario - when designing a website does one create it to suit Google, Yahoo and Bing or create it to suit potential customers? The answer might be obvious ...or is it that simple?

If you design a website purely for your customers and it doesn't fit in with Google's ethos and it doesn't get listed effectively so potential customers won't be able to find it anyway.

If the website is clinically designed purely for Google and in such a mercenary manner that it perfectly fits Google's guidelines, will it be customer friendly? If not, despite the fact that it will gain very high rankings, it won't earn you any money.

Somewhere between the two, is a happy medium - but what is it?

Suppose we optimised our website and whilst acting on duff advice from some self appointed internet marketing guru, find the website has been penalised for using incorrect 'Black Hat' techniques. Such bad internet marketing tactics are hidden text or links, keyword stuffing (repeating keywords too often) or using link schemes such as dubious link farms.

These characters lurk around chat rooms and forums dishing out advice about internet marketing or boasting that they have beaten Google with some newly cooked website marketing scam. Others are totally innocent and are unaware that the internet marketing advice is very dodgy and could cost dearly should the webmaster choose to implement it.

Here's some proper ethical website marketing advice from Peter Yexley.

Keywords

Keyword research is extremely important and as much s you might think you know what your keywords are; get some professional marketing intelligence because there could be many variants that you have not included. Don't get caught up in 'vanity keywords', these are words that people in your industry search for just to see where their website is in the search engines. Find keywords and keyword phrases related to your main keywords and use them on your website pages. Don't dismiss long-tail keywords, despite common rumours they are a rich source.

Text or Images?

A lot of website marketers will advise you to use text instead of images and they are right from a mercenary point of view but in our commercial world if you have an online store, you need images. Be mindful that Google's crawler doesn't recognise images, it knows there are images there but doesn't know what they are. Don't use text contained in images but use text in ALT TAGS instead to describe images. Your site may certainly look very presentable when using lots of images, however you are at risk of reducing the potential for obtaining high rankings in search engines and also your web pages may be slow to load on some older computers or those with poor connections. BUT, and it is a big 'but', you need to sell and make money. Smaller images with a link to bigger images might be a solution.

Don't be a Novelist!

I've lost count how many sites I have evaluated and asked 'What are you selling?'. The writer has tried to be creative and gone completely over the top using excessive superlatives and even common spelling mistakes. Here's an example; "We have a combined experience stretching over four decades and globally renowned as the finest purveyors of solar control laminates for domestic vehicle glazing systems". What do they sell? Tinted Window Film for cars!

Keep your website content focussed and you will increase the possibility that Google will rank it higher than your competitors. That is the name of the game.

Headings and sub titles.

When visitors first view a website they don't react the same way as a book reader would, or indeed the way they view an advertisement. The first thing that could greet them is 'information overload'. It could be an assault on the reader's eyes and mind. The first three or four seconds are crucial and the content needs to engage the visitor almost instantly. Website visitors tend to scan web pages whilst they get accustomed to the layout. It is much harder to read text on a computer monitor than on a printed page, so we need to provide headings and sub-titles in order that the website visitor can quickly read the main points. Ensure your headings are clear and concise, describing the content contained in the paragraphs below them. Website marketing is not like writing an advertisement for a local newspaper.

Don't try and trick Google.

If your livelihood relies on your online business or you are serious about website marketing, don't contemplate trying to trick Google or any other search engine for that matter. You may be aware, or learn of 'Black Hat' marketing tricks and tactics to trick the search engines. I'm not going to list all of them because I have no desire to advertise such internet marketing strategies but here's a couple: hiding links in the text so visitors inadvertently get taken to another site or create hidden text to get more keywords in their html code. This will be seen by Google as spamming and your website is likely to be penalised, resulting in your website disappearing from Google. If this happens it will take a lot of website marketing skills and a long time to get your reputation back.

Include a Directory or Site Map

Every page of your website should be reachable from at least one text link. This can be achieved with a directory page or site map to enable visitors to quickly view the content of your website. It also allows search engine spiders to index your entire website.

Check and fix broken links

I mentioned a directory page or site map, It is important that you check all your links inside your website as well as external links. Search engines will find your site by following links from other sites. If your site contains broken links the spider will not be able to index all your pages.

Validate HTML.

If your HTML code is Incorrect, it can prevent your website from being displayed correctly. A single missed CSS or HTML tag can offset an entire web page. Incorrect HTML can slow the indexing of your site too. Some browsers are pickier than others when displaying web pages, whilst others are more forgiving of html errors. Correct HTML will help you to avoid these problems.


 

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